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Thanksgiving Dinner Tips

November 18, 2011 by staff 

Thanksgiving Dinner Tips, Next Thursday, Americans will consume one-sixth of all the turkey eaten in this country annually, over a billion pounds, in just one day. After the Thanksgiving parades and football games and the last slice of pie, many will forget about turkey except as a sandwich meat for the next 364 days. But not in Meredith, New Hampshire, where it is always Thanksgiving, all year round.

A popular tourist destination, Meredith sits on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, which since 1771 has billed itself as “The Oldest Summer Resort in America.” Hart’s history is not quite as old, but it certainly is rich. In the late 1940s, the Hart brothers moved here to begin farming, and by 1953 they had found their niche raising turkeys. The next year they added a 12-seat restaurant to their turkey farm, hence the name, serving sandwiches and turkey dinners. It was a runaway success and by 1965 had become so popular that the Harts gave up farming, but continue to source their turkeys from individual farmers who meet their quality standards.

Today Hart’s Turkey Farm is a big white complex of a building with huge parking lots on either side. It has a bit of a truck stop feel, minus the gas and showers, with a large bustling gift shop at the entrance, selling both house made foodstuffs and tourist kitsch. Hart’s is one of a handful of such colorful multi-generational success stories left in the country, and like most of them, it has been expanded and re-expanded more times than anyone remembers, with the result being lots of small dining rooms, with simple, wood-paneled walls and a practical New England feel. Each room features walls adorned with what the restaurant humbly suggests “may be” the world’s largest collection of turkey-themed plates and platters. The rooms combine to seat more than 500 people, yet there is often a line out the door – at lunch and dinner. On a typically busy day, they sell more than a ton of turkey, 40 gallons of gravy, 1,000 pounds of potatoes, 4,000 rolls, and an impressive 1,000 pies. In 2008, customer demand led the Harts to open a second location in Manchester, N.H., which is currently closed and being renovated into a combination motel and restaurant.

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